Dirt Mall – Got the Goat by the Horns

Dirt Mall
Got the Goat by the Horns

Boston-based band Dirt Mall has either arrived way late or way early for their chance at stardom. This quintet’s debut album, Got the Goat by the Horns, is chock full of the type of garage band riff rock that makes you think of your older brother’s high school band…in the 1980s. While garage rock bands aren’t necessarily a thing of the past, it’s not clear whether the world is seeing any major upsurge in love for standard-fare riff rock.

Got the Goat by the Horns features eight songs and the band mentions that one clocks in at just over nine minutes (so that no one feels cheated by the length of the album). Unfortunately for Dirt Mall, their flagship track could have been chopped down to a nice three minute number and it would have had a better affect on the overall album.

The disc begins with “Hello Los Angeles”, an upbeat song with a chugging riff and swagger-infused vocals. It’s a fun track, but the overall combination of guitar, bass, and drums comes off a bit flat. “Medicate (Today)” has more interesting guitar licks then its predecessor, but this three and a half minute song just begs to be sped up. Sure, the lyrics about medicating oneself should fit a sludgy tune, but this just isn’t the case for this one. “Hopeless Bore” and “Rows” both move into more upbeat territory and this pair make up the better tracks on the album.

Better isn’t best though, and that award goes to “I’m Not Saying What You Did Was Wrong But Your Timing Could Have Been Better”. This song has the energy that one expects from good riff rock. Not only is the energy great, Dirt Mall really seems to have poured a lot into this one, both musically and emotionally. The albums’ final track, “Ghosts Descend” is quite interesting, though it doesn’t fit into the garage rock feel of the other songs. Dreamy and semi-psychedelic are more to the point here then anything else.

Got the Goat by the Horns is a decent first effort, but nothing earth shattering. As with any young band it will be interesting to see what growth will happen as the band gears up for its next release. It would be great to see the band follow a more energetic route, especially if Dirt Mall wishes to gain momentum.